Essay: Conformity and Obedience July 7th 2010 Conformity is like a virus that you are bound to catch, and there is only one real cure. People conform to society because society has strength and power over us. People delude themselves into believing that majority is society. If someone’s views go against society then society will pounce upon them like a hungry lion to eat them alive. Rather than going against it, people follow along even if it isn’t always right. People must do what is right, but the question is what is right?
When you are surrounded by a group of people it is nearly impossible to not go along with what they are doing. Society has made people delude themselves into believing that what is right is what society says is right. Nothing gives them authority over you, and they are no more knowledgeable than you are. No one knows what is right and what is wrong. Overtime what defines right and wrong has changed drastically. As things become accepted they become what is known as right and wrong. People evolve and change their views because courageous people stood-up for what they believed in even if it was not the right idea.
You must do what you believe is right and I must do what I believe is right because in the end all that matters what we believe. Conformity is a difficult thing to avoid. It takes courage to stand up against society. Many times people have been or were willing to be prosecuted for it. A world allowing things to go on that I know are wrong is not a world worth partaking in. Conformity easily turns into obedience, but there is a difference. People must continue living the same principles with obedience as with conformity. The key to obedience is to honestly believe in those who you are obedient too.
But people put too much faith in the authorities they obey, and it blinds them whenever the authority they obey does something that they don’t really believe is right. Deep down they know it certain things aren’t truly right, but they can’t see it. The My Lai Massacre was an event with obedient soldiers, blinded into conformity. Several soldier said they didn’t like doing it; one man even cried as he shot (information from lecture). But it was the pressure of society that pushed them to do it. In this case the real authority or society figure was the man in charge, the Lieutenant.
He made the order. Every soldier may have wanted to stop, but to themselves they were alone. They feared the consequences to rebel against society. They choose to live with it rather risk everything to fight against it. They didn’t follow the key principle of what is right and wrong; do what is right even at your own expense. As far as I’m concerned they are as guilty as Lieutenant Calley. It were the men who demanded that the incident be stopped, even at the risk of outright war between American soldiers, who did what was right. Thompson and those few other men lived by what they knew was right.
They followed the primordial principle of life because they knew they had too. Conforming takes away a person’s choice. Someone can easily participate and agree with other people without necessarily conforming. It is one thing though to have agreeing beliefs and an entirely different thing to go along because everyone else is. We must not conform to fit in, and we must do what is right. To understand what is right you must understand yourself and your own personal beliefs. Your beliefs are what make you you, and if you have to change them to fit in with a certain crowd than that crowd is not for you.